In 1969, Jerry started teaching himself the pedal steel guitar and joined his friend, rhythm guitarist John “Marmaduke” Dawson, who was writing and playing country songs in small club gigs. Before long, David Nelson on lead guitar, Bob Mathews on bass, and Mickey Hart on drums rounded out the lineup of the New Riders of the Purple Sage. The band was soon playing many shows with the Grateful Dead. Bob Mathews stepped down in the fall of ’69 and Phil Lesh filled in until Dave Torbert joined the permanent lineup. Hart would eventually be replaced by ex-Jefferson Airplane drummer Spencer Dryden and finally, in November of ’71, Jerry would step down, being replaced by Buddy Cage. This final move allowed the NRPS to untether from the Grateful Dead.